In writer Greg Rucka’s mind, Princess Leia is always awesome, yet in his comic book Star Wars: Shattered Empire, he’s introduced another woman who’s just as intriguing — and a force to be reckoned with when piloting an A-wing starfighter.

Out Wednesday and featuring art by Marco Checchetto (Avengers World), the second issue of the Marvel Comics series continues the story past the events of Return of the Jedi, the explosion of the second Death Star and the defeat of the Galactic Empire at the Battle of Endor. (Plus, there are some definite seeds planted, one in particular, that lead to the new movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens, set around 30 years later.)

Shara Bey and her husband Kes are fighters in the Rebel Alliance with a son at home and a family they want to keep safe in this cosmic struggle.

They’ve been in battles for a long time and “are veterans coming to the end of their time serving in a cause, in a fight, that they’ve committed to, that they believe in,” Ruck says. “Each has their own heroism, and their relationship is, I think, a positive one.”

And while the Empire has suffered a severe blow with the deaths of Emperor Palpatine and his enforcer Darth Vader, the Imperial contingent is down but not out — as seen in Chuck Wendig’s novel Star Wars: Aftermath.

“It’s the ‘Galactic Empire,’ and that certainly implies it’s a very large, very omnipresent organization,” Rucka says. “The political ramifications of the Battle of Endor are going to be felt for years moving forward. But more specifically — and more to Shattered Empire — we’re seeing some of the Emperor’s contingencies coming into play. Palpatine was not a nice guy, as we know, and to think that his reach ended with his life is a mistake.”

Rucka takes the action to Naboo in the second and third issues to meet the queen of the moment. “I’m quite fond of her inasmuch as I can claim any ownership in her creation,” the writer says. “She’s a character I’d love to come back to at some point and tell more stories about.”

He’s getting to write legacy characters as well — Han Solo and Lando Calrissian appeared briefly in Shattered Empire No. 1, and Leia plays a major role beginning in the second issue.

One of Rucka’s biggest thrills, though, is penning Luke Skywalker as the man he’s finally become in the post-ROTJ era. “So much of the original trilogy is about his coming of age in so many ways,” he says. “To write Luke as a Jedi, as the man who faced not only Palpatine but his father, and then redeemed Anakin, that was quite special for me. That was a genuine honor.”

Even with another era of Star Wars lore coming to movie screens, Rucka feels the scope of the universe is so great that there are many stories to tell in the franchise’s history.

“What’s especially neat about Shattered Empire is that we know the moment that we’re following, and it’s a very specific moment that begged many, many questions,” he says. “So being able to chase some of those, no matter how gentle the pursuit, is an incredible amount of fun.”